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Nigeria docked points, World Cup qualification unaffected

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Nigeria docked points, World Cup qualification unaffected

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Nigeria have been docked two points for fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against Algeria but their place at next year's finals in Russia has not been affected, FIFA said on Tuesday.

Nigeria, already qualified for the finals, drew 1-1 but FIFA awarded the match to Algeria by a 3-0 scoreline after the Super Eagles fielded the ineligible Abdullahi Shehu who had failed to serve a one-match suspension for accumulated yellow cards.

"This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria eliminated) before the match took place," FIFA said in a statement.

Nigeria, who topped African Group B, finished on 12 points instead of 14, four clear of second-placed Zambia. Algeria still came bottom of the standings.

Nigeria will face Iceland, Croatia and Argentina in their World Cup group in Russia. There was no immediate comment from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF)

East Timor had forfeited seven of the 10 games they played in the World Cup qualifiers for fielding nine players who were ineligible because of nationality.

This was based on a decision previously taken by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) which has annulled 29 matches involving East Timor and barred the team from the 2023 Asian Cup. The nine players were all born in Brazil.

(Writing by Brian Homewood,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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